Nothing can be as shocking as seeing Magneto and the X-Men teaming up, but these hidden facets of X2 are worth a closer look.
1. Look closely at the 20th Century Fox logo at the beginning of the film. As it fades to black, director Bryan Singer had the “X” in “Fox” fade out slower as a little tribute to the X-Men. There are also dozens of other hidden Xs throughout the movie: the windows during the museum scene; the trim over the door in the Oval Office set; and within much of the characters’ wardrobe.
2. The plot of X2 was loosely adapted from the Marvel graphic novel X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, which also features Stryker as the villain, Magneto teaming up with the X-Men, and Stryker’s plot to kill all mutants by using an alternate Cerebro.
3. Singer hired many of the new cast members specifically because of their previous work. Aaron Stanford (who plays Pyro) was hired because of his role in the small indie film Tadpole. Brian Cox (who plays William Stryker) got his part because Singer remembered him from the 1986 film Manhunter, where the actor played the first incarnation of Hannibal Lecter. Alan Cumming won Nightcrawler because Singer loved him as the Emcee in the Broadway revival of the musical Cabaret.
4. The film was primarily shot on sets at Vancouver Film Studios—the largest film production facility outside of Los Angeles—but exteriors of Stryker’s wintery base were shot at Barrier Lake in the Canadian Rockies in the province of Alberta. The production had to create over 40 tons of snow to cover the area because the unusually warm weather melted the natural snow.
5. The massive Cerebro set was built in halves. The walls could be shifted around to suggest a spherical shape depending on the angle of shots needed.
6. The museum in the beginning of the film was actually a convention center in Vancouver. The crew outfitted the space with dinosaur bones rented from real museums and private collectors by production designer Guy Dyas.
7. When Professor X stops time, the extras near the main actors were mimes.
8. In all other wide shots, Singer just had the extras stop in place.
9. The exteriors of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters were shot at Hatley Castle on the grounds of Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia.
10. Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique makeup took five hours to apply.
11. Singer makes a quick cameo in the film. He’s the guard who wheels Professor X into Magneto’s plastic prison.
12. X-Men staples the Danger Room, Sentinels, and the characters of Beast and Archangel were supposed to be in the movie but were cut for various reasons. The set for the Danger Room was actually built but scrapped because of budget concerns. Jubilee made it into the movie in a cameo, but her scene was cut for time.
13. Pyro’s lighter with the shark graphics is an homage to Jaws, Singer’s favorite movie. The director’s production company is also called “Bad Hat Harry Productions,” which is inspired by a line from Spielberg’s shark movie, too.
14. To perfect his performance as Nightcrawler, Cumming worked with movement coach Terry Notary, who had previously performed in Cirque du Soleil. Since X2, Notary has worked as a movement coach on Avatar, The Adventures of Tintin, and the Hobbit movies.
15. The frozen barrier that Iceman creates between Wolverine and Stryker was a real, 8x11-foot, 3,500-pound block of ice installed and exploded on-set.
More than 30 years after its cinematic debut, Labyrinth could be hitting the stage. In an interview with Forbes, Jim Henson's son and Henson Company CEO Brian Henson shared plans to transform the cult classic into a live musical.
While the new musical would be missing David Bowie in his starring role as Jareth the Goblin King, it would hopefully feature the soundtrack Bowie helped write. Brian Henson says there isn't a set timeline for the project yet, but the stage adaptation of the original film is already in the works.
As for a location, Henson told Forbes he envisions it running, "Not necessarily [on] Broadway, it could be for London's West End, but it will be a stage show, a big theatrical version. It’s very exciting."
Labyrinth premiered in 1986 to measly box office earnings and tepid reviews, but Jim Henson's fairytale has since grown into a phenomenon beloved by nostalgic '80s kids and younger generations alike. In the same Forbes interview, Brian Henson also confirmed the 2017 news that a long-anticipated Labyrinth sequel is apparently in development. Though he couldn't give any specifics, Henson confirmed that, "we are still excited about it but the process moves very slowly and very carefully. We're still excited about the idea of a sequel, we are working on something, but nothing that's close enough to say it's about to be in pre-production or anything like that."
While fans eagerly await those projects to come out, they can get their fix when the film returns to theaters across the U.S. on April 29, May 1, and May 2. Don't forget to wear your best Labyrinth swag to the event.
The hit HBO show about an android farm girl finding sentience in a fake version of the old West set in a sci-fi future is back for a second season. So grab your magnifying glass, study up on Lewis Carroll and Shakespeare, and get ready for your brain to turn to scrambled eggs.
The first season saw Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and her robotic compatriots strive to escape bondage as the puppet playthings of a bored society that kills and brutalizes them every day, then repairs them each night to repeat the process for paying customers. The Maze. The Man in Black. The mysteries lurking in cold storage and cantinas. Wood described the first season as a prequel, which means the show can really get on the dusty trail now.
Before you board the train and head back into the park, here are 10 wild facts about the cerebral, sci-fi hit. (Just beware of season one spoilers!)
1. IT’S NOT THE FIRST TV ADAPTATION OF THE MOVIE.
Though Westworld, the 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton, was a hit, its 1976 sequel Futureworld was a flop. Still, the name and concept had enough cachet for CBS to move forward with a television concept in 1980. Beyond Westworld featured Delos head of security John Moore (Jim McMullan) battling against the villainous mad scientist Simon Quaid (James Wainwright), who wants to use the park’s robots to, what else, take over the whole world. It would be a little like if the HBO show focused largely on Luke Hemsworth’s Ashley Stubbs, which just might be the spinoff the world is waiting for.
2. THE ORIGINAL GUNSLINGER HAS A CAMEO.
JOHN P. JOHNSON, HBO
The HBO series pays homage to the original film in a variety of ways, including echoing elements from the score to create that dread-inducing soundscape. It also tipped its ten-gallon hat to Yul Brynner’s relentless gunslinger from the original film by including him in the storage basement with the rest of the creaky old models.
3. QUENTIN TARANTINO, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, AND MANY OTHERS COULD HAVE REBOOTED IT.
Speaking of Brynner’s steely, murderous resolve: His performance as the robo-cowboy was one of the foundations for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s turn as the Terminator. Nearly 20 years later, in 2002, Schwarzenegger signed on to produce and star in a reboot of the sci-fi film from which he took his early acting cues. Schwarzenegger never took over the role from Brynner because he served as Governor of California instead, and the reboot languished in development hell.
Warner Bros. tried to get Quentin Tarantino on board, but he passed. They also signedThe Cell director Tarsem Singh (whose old West would have been unbelievably lush and colorful, no doubt), but it fell through. A few years later, J.J. Abrams—who had met with Crichton about a reboot back in 1996—pitched eventual co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy on doing it as a television series. HBO bought it, and the violent delights finally made it to our screens.
4. IT COSTS $40,000 A DAY TO VISIT THE PARK. (AND THAT’S THE CHEAP PACKAGE.)
In season one, Logan (Ben Barnes) revealed that he’s spending $40,000 a day to experience Westworld. That’s in line with the 1973 movie, where park visitors spent $1000 a day, which lands near $38,000 once adjusted for inflation. Then again, we’re talking about 2052 dollars, so it might still be pricey, but not exorbitant in 2018 terms. But a clever Redditor spotted that $40,000 is the minimum you’d pay; according to the show’s website, the Gold Package will set you back $200,000 a day.
5. BEN BARNES BROKE HIS FOOT AND DIDN’T TELL ANYONE.
Once Upon a Time’s Eion Bailey was originally cast as Logan but had to quit due to a scheduling conflict, so Ben Barnes stepped in … then he broke his foot. The actor hid the injury for fear he’d lose the job, which is why he added a limp as a character detail. “I’m sort of hobbling along with this kind of cowboy-ish limp, which I then tried to maintain for the next year just so I could pretend it was a character choice,” Barnes said. “But really I had a very purple foot … So walking was the hardest part of shooting this for me.”
6. THE CO-CREATORS RICKROLLED FANS OBSESSED WITH UNCOVERING SPOILERS.
Eagle-eyed fans (particularly on Reddit) uncovered just about every major spoiler from the first season early on, which is why Nolan and Joy promised a spoiler video for anyone who wanted to know the entire plot of season two ahead of its premiere. They delivered, but instead of show secrets, the 25-minute video only offered a classy rendition of Rick Astley’s internet-infamous “Never Gonna Give You Up,” sung by Evan Rachel Wood with Angela Sarafyan on piano, followed by 20 minutes of a dog. It was a pitch-perfect response to a fanbase desperate for answers.
7. IT FEATURES AN ANCIENT GREEK EASTER EGG.
Amid the alternative rock tunes hammered out on the player piano and hat tips to classic western films, Westworld also referenced something from 5th century BCE Greece. Westworld, which is run by Delos Incorporated, is designed so that guests cannot die. Delos is also the name of the island where ancient Greeks made it illegal for anyone to die (or be born for that matter) on religious grounds. That’s not the only bit of wordplay with Greek either: Sweetwater’s main ruffian, Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro), gets his last name from the Greek eschaton, meaning the final event in the divine design of the world. Fitting for a potentially sentient robot helping to bring about humanity’s destruction.
8. JIMMI SIMPSON FIGURED OUT HIS CHARACTER’S TWIST BECAUSE OF HIS EYEBROWS.
In season one, the show’s many secrets were kept even from the main cast until the time they absolutely needed to know. Jimmi Simpson, who plays timid theme park neophyte William, had a hunch something was funny with his role because of a cosmetic change.
“I was with an amazing makeup artist, Christian, and he was looking at my face too much,” Simpson toldVanity Fair. “He had me in his chair, and he was just looking at my face, and then he said something about my eyebrows. ‘Would you be cool if we just took a couple hairs out of your eyebrows, made them not quite as arched?’” Guessing that they were making him look more like The Man in Black, Simpson said something to Joy, and she confirmed his hunch. “She looked kind of surprised I’d worked it out,” he said.
9. THE PLAYER PIANO MAY BE AN ALLUSION TO KURT VONNEGUT.
One of the show’s most iconic elements is its soundtrack of alternative rock songs from the likes of Radiohead, The Cure, and Soundgarden redone in a jaunty, old West style. In addition to adding a creepy sonic flavor to the sadistic vacation, they also may wink toward Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel, Player Piano, which deals with a dystopia of automation where machines do everything for humans, leading to an entrenched class struggle. The show’s resonant elements are clear, but Westworld also mentions that the world outside the theme park is one where there’s no unemployment and humans have little purpose. Like The Man In Black (Ed Harris), the protagonist of Player Piano also longs for real stakes in the struggle of life.
10. THERE ARE TWO JESSE JAMES CONNECTIONS.
Anthony Hopkins’s character Dr. Robert Ford is an invention for the new series, and he shares a name with the man who assassinated infamous outlaw Jesse James (a fact you may remember from the aptly named movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford). The final episode of the first season flips the allusion when Ford is shot in the back of the head, which is exactly how the real-life Ford killed James.